I received a copy of Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? written by Philip Yancey, from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. Italicized quotes, with the exception of the opening movie quotes, are from the book. The opinions expressed here are my own.
And great news! Family Christian has agreed to partner with me on this one! They are offering a $25 appreciation certificate to one of my readers. You can enter the giveaway below.
In the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, the main character, Frances, buys an Italian villa just moments before a German couple come in to consider purchasing it. The realtor has to break the news that the villa is no longer on the market.
To which the German woman responds:
“You greedy Americans. You think you’re so entitled. You ruin everything.”
“A lot of us feel really badly about that.”
And it’s true in a lot of regards, isn’t it? We’ll read about a community or organization we’re affiliated with and how something disturbing has happened among our people. Something we don’t support and would never do ourselves.
Take Christianity for example....
And if we’re going to attempt to decipher the reality of Christianity from the disturbing, I can think of no better journalist to help us along than Philip Yancey. In a follow-up book to “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” Yancey further examines grace. The grace our Good News offers to a world who is thirsting for it.
“Nonbelievers tend to regard evangelicals as a legion of morals police determined to impose their notion of right behavior on others. To them, Christians are antiabortion, antigay, anti-women - probably antisex, for that matter - and most of them homeschool their children to avoid defilement.”
Ouch. “A lot of us feel really badly about that.”
If I had a conversation with a nonbeliever (Yancey addresses both pre-Christians, post-Christians and believers of other faiths) who struggle to see the relevance of Christianity in our world today, I’d recommend this book.
If I talk with a Christian who doesn’t understand how we can best dispense grace to all the world regardless of their lifestyle or beliefs, I’d recommend this book.
“I doubt God keeps track of how many arguments we win; God may indeed keep track of how well we love.”
Yancey never preaches. He examines. He takes you on a thoughtful journey. Using personal stories, Scriptures, world-wide and historical research, he teaches us about a Christianity Jesus had in mind.
“Jesus has the uncanny ability to look at everyone with gracehealed eyes, seeing not only the beauty of who they were but also the sacred potential of what they could become.”
Throughout the book, the author never apologizes for being a Christian. He does apologize, and share stories of apology, for those times we send a wrong message. Messages quite opposite of the “Good News” we are commissioned to proclaim.
For example, in response to negative “flamethrowers” who post comments on his website:
“I replied - and here is a recurring theme in this book, that the issue is not whether I agree with someone but rather how I treat someone with whom I profoundly disagree. We Christians are called to use the ‘weapons of grace,’ which means treating even our opponents with love and respect.”
The book is broken down into four parts:
A World at Thirst
Is it Really Good News?
Faith & Culture
Each section is thought provoking. So often, we react based on our upbringing. Yancey calls us to instead react thoughtfully, biblically. You won’t read this book in one setting. More likely, you will highlight and dog-ear some pages. You’ll make it slowly through one reading and then revisit it again. Time and time again.
Thanks for reading. Now, take a moment to enter for a chance to win!
The giveaway is open to North American residents and will run through midnight on Monday, December 1st. A winner is randomly selected. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be selected.